Tim Cato of The Athletic looked at the current state of the Mavericks and noted that while roster upgrades are badly needed, such deals might not end up happening
“Some names that have been floated as possibilities include the Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Khris Middleton,” Cato wrote. “But whether either party has mutual interest, or whether Dallas has the resources to acquire them, won’t be answered until this summer.”
The Mavericks also could end up signing veteran guard Kyrie Irving, who the team acquired in February. At the time, that acquisition offered excitement to the championship hopes of the Mavericks.
Instead, the Mavericks failed to even reach the playoffs, with Irving’s expiring contract potentially giving the team nothing in return.
Last year, Ayton signed an offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers, which was soon matched by the Suns. Despite returning to the team, Ayton reportedly made no attempt to hide his contentious relationship with the team’s head coach, Monty Williams.
Ayton was the top overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft and has regularly shown over the course of his five seasons that he was worthy of that selection. He’s averaged a double-double with 16.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per game during the regular season over his career and has also averaged 1.6 assists and 1.0 block per game.
In contrast to Ayton’s lofty draft status, Middleton was taken by the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft, the 39th player taken overall.
Middleton was dealt to the Bucks the following year and has been selected for the annual All-Star Game three times. For his career, he’s averaging 17.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
During the 2021 NBA Finals, Ayton and Middleton battled each other on the court, with the Bucks eventually capturing their first NBA title in 50 years.
The only title in Mavericks history was won in 2011, with the team’s current hopes largely tied to keeping the team’s star, Luka Doncic, happy. Doing so requires the team to make every effort toward giving Doncic the sort of teammates that can help make a deep playoff run.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that the Mavericks will be able to acquire either Ayton or Middleton. If neither of those deals takes place, the need to look elsewhere is imperative.